Chefchaouen is one of Morocco’s best kept secrets. Known as the blue city, Chefchaouen has been frequented by some of the world’s leading artists and musicians. The powder- blue buildings and winding streets reflect the Moroccan sky, while the picturesque sleepy city acts as a true bohemian paradise. Chefchaouen boasts a strong Andalusían influence with Spanish/Arab speaking inhabitants making it a quiet and unexpected haven for travellers. Founded in 1471 by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami, Chefchaouen acted as a fortress for Spanish exiles.
Chefchaouen is one of my favourite places to visit in Morocco. Although the 12 hour train journey from Marrakech to Tangier, teamed with a 2 hour taxi ride, doesn’t make it the easiest place to get to. The idyllic landscape you pass on your way, makes up for the lengthy travel time. The Beautiful Berber villages, farms and fishing towns, help to enhance your Moroccan travel experience. Chefchaouen is definitely a trip worth doing. It provides a true level of escapism from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, with a slower pace and stoic energy.
One of my favourite things to do in Chefchaouen is to grab a coffee in the main square and watch people flurry by. After aimlessly walking for hours through the peaceful souks, capturing some beautiful images, stepping into galleries and engaging with artists and artisans. The souks are definitely a stark contrast to that found in Marrakech, a lot more intimate with a variety of incense and oils in addition to paintings from local artists.
The Ras El-Ma is the epicentre of Chefchaouen, bringing together families, locals and tourists with everyone using the waterfall as a means to cool down and enjoy the peace within Chefchaouen. The best way to enjoy it is to sit at one of coffee shops which overlook the Ras-El-Ma and listen to the abundant laughter from the kids playing. It is also a great place to capture the sunset and listen to the call for prayer.
Although Chefchaouen itself is pretty small, the towns and villages that surround it, teamed with the Mountains, make it an ideal hub to explore the nature within Morocco. Where the Sahara possesses the Desert, Chefchaouen flourishes with greenery, mountains, waterfalls and natural springs. The Cascades d’Akchour within the Talassemtane National Park and encompassed inside the Rif Mountains is the perfect place to hike and discover the varying cascades and waterfalls. Ranging from 20m high to the main waterfall at 100m. The hike is not for the faint hearted, taking several hours to reach the top. But with a multitude of shelters, cafes and shops along the path, you can always relax and engage with other hikers throughout.
Venturing just 45 minutes outside of Chefchaouen and you come across “The Bridge of God” Le Pont de Dieu, the perfect place to pack a picnic and relax with friends. For the more adventurous traveller, attempt to scale the Bridge of God to enjoy the panoramic views of the Kef Mountains.
By Ingrid Asoni